After agreeing to a deal with Pedercini Kawasaki, Leon Haslam will return to WorldSBK racing as a wildcard rider in 2022.
Haslam made the choice to return to BSB with the Lee Hardy Racing Kawasaki team after losing his factory Honda WSBK ride at the end of the 2021 season. He was expected to stay in the WSBK paddock with Pedercini, which raced two ZX-10RRs last year but will only run one full-time entry for Loris Cresson in 2022.
Haslam returned to British Superbike in February with Lee Hardy Racing – now called VisionTrack Kawasaki after failing to agree on a full-time deal with Pedericini.
However, given that the 2018 BSB champion has been scheduled to compete in four wildcard rounds, he and reigning series champion Tarran Mackenzie will have completed a total of seven rounds.
While Mackenzie is scheduled to race in round two in Assen later this month, Haslam will return to WorldSBK at round four in June, despite the fact that the McAMS Yamaha rider was involved in a collision at this week’s Silverstone test, leaving him with a possible left ankle fracture.
All four of Haslam’s wildcard outings, beginning with Misano, will be held during the European rounds. Donington Park, Autodrom Most (Czech Republic), and Portimao are among the remaining events on his itinerary.
“I am super excited,” Haslam said. “I’ve known Lucio [Pedercini] for so many years and actually raced against him back in the day when I first started.”
“I did a one-off wildcard with the team in Qatar a few years back and managed to finish in the top five and I have a lot of fond memories of being a part of the team.”
“To be able to come back and ride with them again after all these years is really exciting for me and I hope we can achieve some good results together,” he added.
“The focus of course is BSB, but we have been able to find a solution that will see me return to the WorldSBK for these four races and I am really looking forward to it.”
Haslam, a five-time WorldSBK race winner, will be riding a familiar ZX-10RR, which he will also use in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
“Leon coming back to our team is a perfect match,” Lucio Pedercini, the team’s owner said. “We both still have a lot to say on track in the WorldSBK paddock and we are looking forward to entertaining the public for four rounds of pure racing passion.”
“Thanks to our knowledge and his ability, we are confident that we will do battle and hopefully bring some good results like we did together in the past. For sure it will be a lot of fun.”
Although full-time rider Loris Cresson finished last in the Aragon test, Haslam will be on a package that should allow him to contend for points, despite not being on as excellent a bike as he was during the 2019 season when he was team-mate to Jonathan Rea at KRT.
Prior to yesterday’s opening day of testing at Silverstone, Haslam and VisionTrack Kawasaki presented their new colors for the 2022 BSB season, which coincided with his planned WorldSBK return.
Ross Burridge, Head of Marketing & Racing Department at Kawasaki UK, proceeded to speak about the team’s new colors for this season.
“There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes between Lee, Leon and the rest of the team to get to this point, and we have to say, the new livery looks great,” he said.
“If it’s anywhere near as fast as it looks, then we’re confident the VisionTrack Kawasaki team will be in for a strong season!”